How far would you drive for food?
I woke up last Sunday with no intentions of going further than the couch, but I ended up going on a 500 km car ride just for the sake of buying Japanese pears and eating the famous Izushi soba.
We left Kurashiki at around 9h30 AM and drove to the prefecture of Tottori where according to NHK news and my mother-in-law, the best damn pears in Japan are grown. In order to buy those nashi (pears) we would have to cross the whole width of the country from the Inland Sea to the Sea of Japan, but I was up for the ride.
We stopped just outside of Tottori at a rest area and it seems like everybody had the exact same idea. Japanese are die-hard seasonal foodies! The nashi pears were everywhere and people were buying in large quantity. According to the news on TV, the intense summer heat caused a catastrophic low crop, so these nashi were a very rare fruit this year.
Japanese nashi are round like apples, nothing to do with the pears found in Europe or Canada. The flesh is crisp and taste like nothing else. We tasted many nashi and I found one that I really liked, the Shinkansen nashi. The Shinkansen was also the most expensive at 600 yen a piece. We bought 3 of these just to have a chance to enjoy such an exquisite taste at home.
After buying 3 crates of pear, we drove straight to Tottori city for some none food related shopping. As soon as we were done, it was decided that we would drive to Izushi to eat the famous Izushi soba. It’s was lunch time, but my mother-in-law insisted that we ate at her favourite restaurant.
We got to Izushi which is located very near to the city of Toyooka in the Hyogo prefecture after a 2 hr drive. By that time I was light-headed and starved, but who would not starve a little for some amazing food?
The town itself is pretty with some old shopping streets and a castle. We ate at Gomangoku which is about 2 min from the castle. The building is old and the inside is very cosy with wood all the over the place. I didn’t look at the menu and it was decided that I would eat sara-soba which is simply 5 plates of cold soba with some dipping sauce. The dipping sauce came with green onion, wasabi, grated daikon and some sticky yamaimo.
I am a big fan of soba and Izushi soba did live up to their reputation. My wife had ordered yamakake soba which is soba in a hot broth with egg and yamaimo. Once I was done with my five little plates, I actually ordered yamakake soba for myself. The broth was simple and very savoury. The texture of the yamaimo is pretty weird, very gooey.
After lunch we walked in the old city and I was very happy to find the Izushi Shiroyama brewery where I bought a beer sampler pack. I am drinking their blueberry beer as I write this and it’s good.
We got home a little bit after 8 pm, tired but really happy of eating such great food. How far am I willing to drive for food? I guess very far!